Definition of cinquefoil in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsiNGkˌfoil/
Pronunciation: /ˈsaNGkˌfoil/


Image of cinquefoil
1A widely distributed herbaceous plant of the rose family, with compound leaves of five leaflets and five-petaled yellow flowers.
  • Genus Potentilla, family Rosaceae: numerous species, including the small-flowered creeping common cinquefoil (P. simplex) and the larger-flowered erect rough-fruited cinquefoil (P. recta).
Example sentences
  • One of these plants, Robbins' cinquefoil or dwarf cinquefoil, has been proposed for removal from the federal endangered species list.
  • If you have a toothache or mouth sore, you might try cinquefoil, a native plant.
  • Deciduous cinquefoil has long been used for borders and ground covers in cold-climate gardens.
2 Art An ornamental design of five lobes arranged in a circle, e.g., in architectural tracery or heraldry.
Example sentences
  • The cinquefoil, when inscribed in a circle, forms a rosette of five equal leaves having an open space in the middle, the leaves being formed by the open spaces.


Middle English: from Latin quinquefolium, from quinque 'five' + folium 'leaf'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: cinque·foil

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